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As Spider-Man’s uncle (not dad, thanks Sam Freedman) once said with great power comes great responsibility. 

And thus, if you have a voice which is heard far and wide, especially one which is often the first read by teachers both new to the profession and to social media, you really have to be very careful to not shut-down debate. At times you may well be in a position to drive debate and you may even take part in high-level discussions with policy makers; at other times you might want to take a back seat, recognising – as you do – that your voice is indeed influential and therefore instead taking a more journalistic approach to subjects at hand, reluctant as you are to sway opinion too much either side: experience teaches you that the wisest among us are often those who listen, rather than shout.

This, from Horatio Speaks, explains just why shutting down debate, whether through off-handed disdain or deliberate repression, is quite anti-intellectual, most especially when that debate seeks to question and clarify philosophies rather than methods. 

This, Ross, is why I find the use of the word ‘boring’ so dangerous. I agree with you about verbal feedback stamps, though disagree about textbooks in part: I, too, worry about the relationship between publishers and exam-boards. But these points of agreement or otherwise are small-fry when compared to the progressive-traditional debate because this really is about what we want from society: what value do we place on knowledge, so-called ‘soft’ skills, relationships, our heritage – shared or otherwise – and the environment, among many other things? To dismiss this as boring is at best attention-seeking, but at worst, with such a large readership, dangerous. In placing a value-judgement on an ongoing, sometimes fiercely contested, debate you assume a superiority as some kind of moral arbiter and in so doing deny the right of those aforementioned teachers the right to engage and to clarify their own thoughts.

To describe something as boring is, I think, beneath a teacher. Our role, surely, is at heart to open minds, not to close them. We should be better than that. We need to hold ourselves to higher standards.

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